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Candace Y.A. Montague

D.C. HIV/AIDS Examiner

HIV Testing Coming Closer to Home
May 17, 2012

If you could have your way, would you prefer to take an HIV test at home or at a physician's office?  Well one advocacy group says take it at home.  According to, a national HIV awareness group, support for over-the-counter HIV testing is growing.  They released the results of their year-long survey that measured potential support for an over-the-counter HIV test.  It seems that increasingly the tide is turning and testing is coming out of the doctor's offices and clinics. But is it wise to leave testing up to untrained consumers at home without consultation from a medical professional?

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FDA Advisory Panel Approves Truvada and Home HIV Tests
May 16, 2012

The Food and Drug Administration's Blood Panel Advisory Committee has approved both Truvada PrEP and the OraSure Rapid HIV test for home use. The panel voted yesterday after deliberation and testimonies in support and against both products. Truvada, a pill with a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine, has been recommended for use as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV-negative partners in serodiscordant relationships. The OraSure Rapid HIV test is an oral-swab based test that can give results in about 20 minutes. The FDA does not have to accept the recommendations from the committee but it usually does.

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Homelessness Proves to Be a Major Block in Treating HIV
May 8, 2012

Hello there! This Examiner has been on a bit of a hiatus thanks to a writer's block. I am happy to report that it is over. What's new? A study from the researchers at the University of California in San Francisco about HIV and homelessness. AIDS advocates have been screaming for years that housing is treatment. Who can forget the stunning piece about a homeless HIV positive woman named Crystal that was published last year for CNN? Now yet another study has been published that further proves their point. The study was published in the April 25th issue of PLoS One.

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Working Group for Women and HIV Falls Far Below Radar
April 5, 2012

Here's a story that you're probably not hearing much about. But I cannot remain silent on it. Allow me to make some noise for a moment. Last month during PACHA's meeting on women and girls, the White House established a crucial working group for women and girls and HIV, a timely move for a movement that has been focused on gay men for many years.

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AIDS Activists Arrested for Protesting Ban on Federal Funded Syringe Exchange
March 22, 2012

Nearly 30 activists were arrested while protesting the ban on federally funded syringe exchange programs yesterday. A total of 75 activists gathered at the US Capitol to participate in a chained 'sit-in' at the offices of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Eric Cantor (R-VA). Yesterday was the National Day of Action when many non-profit organizations asked their supporters to voice their opposition to the ban. The arrested protestors represented Housing Works, Health Gap, and Harm Reduction Coalition. They were detained for 14 hours and released just after midnight.

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Dr. Grant Colfax Appointed as New Director of ONAP
March 15, 2012

The White House announced yesterday that Dr. Grant Colfax, a San Francisco based research scientist, will be the new director of the Office Of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). Dr. Colfax has 20 years of experience in HIV/AIDS care and research including developing interventions that reduce new infections among substance abuse populations. He will replace Jeff Crowley who resigned in last November.

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The Testimony of Hazel Smith: An HIV-Positive Woman
March 8, 2012

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was Saturday, March 10th. Instead of providing lots of statistics and dropping names of educational programs, which is always helpful, I've decided to provide a profile of HIV/AIDS from the perspective of a woman who is actually living with the virus. It doesn't get anymore "aware" than that.

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The Testimony of Hazel Smith: An HIV-Positive Woman, Part Two
March 8, 2012

Hazel Smith is an HIV positive woman who is the quintessential survivor. She went through hell, hurt people who loved her along the way yet somehow made it back. In the past, she may have been viewed as a villain or maybe even a victim of society. She is the victor now. This is not a story about shame and blame. It's an honest conversation about how ending the AIDS epidemic takes more than condoms, billboards and awareness days. It's going to take conquering social ills, economic woes, and policy struggles as well.

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New Documentary About Church and HIV Coming Soon
March 5, 2012

This week is the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS. The church has always been a staple in the Black community. It is the source of inspiration, comfort, and support. But the Black church has also been criticized for ignoring the AIDS crisis and fostering stigma. AIDS activists believe that the church could be one of the main sources for turning the tide on the epidemic. Now a new documentary hopes to shed a positive light on churches that are working to end the epidemic.

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I, Too, Am Black History: Bayard Rustin
February 13, 2012

Since this is Black History Month, I would be remiss if I didn't highlight some of the African-American LGBT pioneers who paved the way for equality and acceptance. What does this have to do with AIDS? It's simple. Stigma comes from ignorance. Stigma drives hate and forces people to conceal their true selves and their struggles (such as with HIV). Stigma can lead people to engage in unhealthy and risky behaviors behind closed doors. So in order to demolish stigma, we need more education. During the month of February I will implant a few lessons for my readers about some great members of the African-American LGBT community who lived out loud. They were trailblazers. Fierce, outstanding, unapologetic, and courageous people who simply would not take "no" for answer.

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See Also
HIV/AIDS in the Mid-Atlantic

D.C. HIV/AIDS Examiner

Candace Y.A. Montague

Candace Y.A. Montague

Candace Y.A. Montague has been learning about HIV since 1988 (and she has the certificates from the American Red Cross to prove it). Health is a high priority to Candace because she believes that nothing can come of your life if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it. One of her two master's degrees is in Community Health Promotion and Education. Candace was inspired to act against HIV after seeing a documentary in 2008 about African-American women and HIV. She knew that writing was the best way for her to make a difference and help inform others. Candace is a native Washingtonian and covers HIV news all around D.C. She has covered fundraisers, motorcycle rides, town hall meetings, house balls, Capitol Hill press conferences, election campaigns and protests for The DC and emPower News Magazine.

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